April 4, 2011

FNH-USA FNP-9 USG Flat Dark Earth (FDE) 9mm

The double-action first-shot self-loading pistol continues being popular because many shooters are uncomfortable with the requirement to keep a single-action pistol cocked and locked, hammer back, safety on. Others do not trust the lack of a manual safety in the double-action-only pistol. These shooters are more comfortable with a long first-shot double-action trigger press. The double-action first shot seems to offer the best of both worlds. This is a prime example of handling features taking advantage over range performance. The double-action-first-shot pistol will never win a combat competition, but many personal-defense shooters favor it. The long double-action trigger is a safety feature that requires 10 pounds or more of pressure to fire the handgun. If you need real precision, you have the option of a crisp single-action trigger press. The double-action-first-shot action transferred to the polymer-frame handgun offers light weight, low maintenance, and low expense.

The FNH-USA FNP-9 USG Flat Dark Earth (FDE) 9mm, $599, is probably better suited as a holster gun for the Armed Services or as a home defender than for concealed carry, although it is light enough for concealed carry. The FNH is a result of the Armed Services requests for new pistol designs, although no contract test program or clear outline for specifications is forthcoming. No maker wishes to be left out of these competitions if they emerge. The pistol is available in 9mm, 40 S&W and 45 ACP.

We tested it in 9mm Luger caliber. The 9mm is still an immensely popular handgun, and improvements in bullet technology and the availability of 9mm +P and +P+ loads make the caliber suitable for personal defense. Truth be told, in such light handguns the 9mm caliber is all the average shooter is probably willing to master.

The FN is a businesslike pistol with a good appearance. The polymer frame is finished in earth tone. The frame is stippled in the right places, and unlike many polymer-frame guns, the stippling actually aids in holding the pistol. The backstrap may be fitted with either a curved or a flat backstrap panel. Most shooters found the flat strap the most comfortable. The curved strap would be best for those with very large hands. The magazine well looks cavernous. It is easy to quickly guide a tapered high-capacity magazine into the magazine well. The magazine release looked as if it would be easily engaged by accident, but the polymer molding that protects it does its job well.

Gun Tests October 2010

Courtesy, Gun Tests


This gun performed flawlessly with acceptable accuracy. It was comfortable to fire, with crisp controls, and it comes with three magazines. Two things we did not like: the bulky grip and poor sights. FN missed a chance to provide first-class sights on the new pistol.>

The frame is molded with a rail for a combat light. The slide is wider than some, which is an issue if the pistol is carried concealed, but then the pistol is rated for NATO specification ammunition. We feel that this is the pistol with which to fire thousands of high-power rounds, if you so desire. The slide features forward cocking serrations and an external extractor that doubles as a loaded-chamber indicator. The FN uses the Glock/SIG-type lock up. The barrel butts into the ejection port to lock up, and there are angled cramming surfaces on the bottom barrel lugs.

The pistol fieldstrips easily, once you are certain the magazine is removed. Lock the slide to the rear, rotate the disassembly lever down, and the slide runs off the frame. The trigger action is smooth enough at 11 pounds in the double-action mode. The single-action trigger breaks at a clean 4 pounds. The ambidextrous decocker was easily handled. It is not likely to be actuated during firing, but it is well protected by bumps in the molded polymer frame. This version also featured the manual safety option. The safety may be applied while the hammer is cocked. More about this later.

Upon initial examination the only complaint our testers had was with the sights. The sights are average 1980s-style service sights. We would have liked to have seen larger sights with a more precise sight picture. FN missed a chance to offer a truly improved pistol. This is a fresh design with much to recommend it, but the sights left us cold. The frame seemed a little large as well, but comfortable enough.

We fired the pistol on the combat course at 7, 10, and 15 yards. The pistol was fast on target and controllable in rapid fire, with minimum muzzle flip. As double-action-first-shot pistols go, the pistol could be counted on for a fast hit as well as any others of the type. One of our raters, a military intelligence officer, was able to draw, work the trigger, and get a fast hit on the 8-inch gong at 15 yards every time. But he has plenty of time in with the double-action Beretta. He rated the FN a shade ahead of the Beretta, and found its 10-ounce-lighter frame welcome. Despite the light weight of the FN, all found the piece comfortable to fire.

A complaint was slow trigger reset. The main complaints came from 1911 and Glock shooters, who are used to a rapid trigger reset. The FN reset is comparable to the SIG double-action pistol in this regard. While a first-class handgun shooter may feel limited, in practical terms the FN may be fired as quickly and accurately as any other double-action pistol at close range. We found the FN’s cadence of fire is set not by how quickly you are able to press the trigger, but by how quickly you are able to realign the sights.

Gun Tests October 2010

Courtesy, Gun Tests


The FN pistol was designed to secure military and police contracts — it is reliable enough. It has an integrated accessory rail for mounting tactical lights or lasers, a full-length guide rod and flat-coil recoil spring. Textured and checkered frame surfaces enhance operator grip. The FNP-9's barrel is stainless steel, and the stainless steel slide with forward cocking serrations is available with either a matte silver finish or a matte black industrial tool finish for durability.

During the course of our evaluation we let several of our raters run the pistol for function, with favorable results. The FN went 300 rounds without cleaning. There were no failures to feed, chamber, fire, or eject. The magazines fell free, allowing rapid magazine changes. The only negative comment was concerning the sights. We did not ask for comparisons to other action types but rather rated the pistol on its own merits as a double-action design.

One advantage noted by experienced shooters was the on Safe option. Even though all agreed they would carry a double-action pistol off Safe at ready, the ability to quickly place the safety on during tactical movement was appreciated. Rather than decocking the pistol for safety, you might simply place the safety on and take cover, not resorting to decocking the hammer and working the long double-action trigger again.

After we had carefully cleaned the pistol, we conducted accuracy tests with three different loads. We were gratified by the accuracy of the pistol. A minor drawback was sight regulation. The pistol fired 2 inches high plus a little to the left. A drift with a punch adjusted the sights for proper windage. A few groups of five shots at 25 yards were well under 2 inches, but, overall, the pistol gave a 2-inch average.

Our Team Said: The FN pistol performed flawlessly with perfect reliability. Accuracy was good. The pistol was comfortable to fire and the controls were crisp. There were two things we did not like. The pistol was more bulky in the grip than necessary, but that is an attribute of the breed. There was little excuse for the poor sights. FN missed a chance to provide first-class sights on its new pistol. The FN came with three magazines. That is unheard of these days. Despite the poor sights, the FN was more accurate than others we have shot. The takedown and handling made for easy maintenance. The FN is the better buy.

Comments (11)

I finally got my FNP-9 back from FNH service. While the trigger pull was greatly improved, their gunsmith managed to delete the de-cocking function. So now, FNH is issuing a shipping label for the gun's second trip to Missouri for repair. At this point, they ought to ship be a new FNX-9. Thank God I have a replacement pistol and am not stuck overseas in Afghanistan or stacked outside some meth lab.

Posted by: sivispace | May 11, 2012 2:34 AM    Report this comment

Got the same weapon in it's Browning Pro-9 clone. Nice weapon...Agree on better sights needed on this platform.

Posted by: rong56345 | April 17, 2011 9:16 AM    Report this comment

Vet1968 Thank you for your service. My dad was a medical officer in country from 1968 through 1969. The people who abused returning vets ought to laud what you did for your fellow soldier and your nation. Your comments regarding the FNP are right on. In .45 it would be a better alternative than the M9 for anyone going into harms way. It's a lot more approprite for SCOCM than the H&K Mark 23 too.

Posted by: sivispace | April 12, 2011 12:15 AM    Report this comment

I have this weapon in the FNP 45 USG. I'm a veteran of the Vietnam "conflict" and I wish that I had this weapon back in 68. It's just as reliable, shoots just as straight or straighter and I really love the idea of a 15 round magazine, by the way that is double what my 1911 was in Nam. This weapon shoots 2" at 25 yards right out of the box using ANY ammunition I out in her, with the exception of the Wolff. The grip seemed a bit bulky at first but after a few hundred rounds it seemed to 'settle' right in to my hand and fit like a glove. The bulky grip is no problem especially if you are in a combat situation, the double magazine capacity could save a life, mine! I do have to agree with the writer and the other readers the sights could be a lot better, but I also plan on replacing those as well. Cocked and locked, is there any other way???? Did I mention that after 500 rounds there have been no FTF nor FTE each and every round perfect.

Posted by: vet1968 | April 11, 2011 7:33 PM    Report this comment

I was concerned about the safety levers too. They appear to by stamped sheet metal. But like the sig p lines, which used sheet metal slides, the FN safety is robust and easy to manipulate.

Posted by: sivispace | April 10, 2011 6:16 PM    Report this comment

I've never handled one of these, but they appeal to me because they provide ambidextrous controls (unlike a SIG). In the photos, the thumb safeties look kinda flimsy- little bent-up sheet metal tabs. What do the owners say?

Posted by: JEAN F R | April 10, 2011 6:06 PM    Report this comment

Have 2 a 9 and a 40. I have LARGE hands. The 9 shoots like lightning. A Sig at half the price. The 40 had a trigger that would not fire until pulled tight against the frame. 2 calls to FN and the nice folks paid for shopping out and back. Week later and 100 rounds almost as good as the 9. A good cleaning,some Proshot zero friction and another 100 rounds; shots as well as the 9. Good as the glock and 1911 I own.

Posted by: Frugal Squirrel | April 8, 2011 7:34 PM    Report this comment

Have 2 of these a 9 and a 40. I have LARGE hands. The 9 shoots like lightning. A Sig for half the price. The 40 had a triger that woud not fire untilit was pulled hard against the frame. 2 calls to FN and the nice folks paid for shipping out and back. 100 rounds through it and it's almost as good as the 9. A good cleaning a little Proshot zero fiction, another 100 rounds and it shoots as well as the the 9. Good as the glock and 1911 I own.

Posted by: Frugal Squirrel | April 8, 2011 5:34 PM    Report this comment

A friend just bought one of these, we took it to the range with 3 different boxes of ammo, It could not shoot a full mag of any with out jamming. He took it back and told them to keep it.

Posted by: nmgene | April 7, 2011 9:18 PM    Report this comment

I've had this identical gun for about six months. Like the writer, I don't have a high opinion of the factory sights. That doesn't matter too much as I will soon replace the factory sights with Trijicon sights as I do with all of my pistols. I had a couple of jams the first time I took it out and shot it. It may be a matter of my hand placement on the frame because the problem seemed to be with the slide stop which is similar to what one would find on a SIG. However, I obtained mine through the NRA-Certified Instructor program so It would have been a shame to pass up the opportunity to own one. My pistol has an accuracy that I would compare to the SIG Sauer line. It is more accurate than my Glocks and just a little less reliable. Next time I take it to the range, I'll pay attention to my grip and it should be plenty reliable. I would have no hesitation in taking the .45 acp version of this gun into combat. The only other thing I would mention is that the single-action trigger pull is a it stagey and it tends to stack more than a 1911 or Browning Highpower does. Even the SIG has a better single action trigger. Still, I couldn't get my hands on a Glock, SIG or 1911, I would feel well armed with the FNP and three magazines.

Posted by: sivispace | April 7, 2011 4:46 PM    Report this comment

I've had this identical gun for about six months. Like the writer, I don't have a high opinion of the factory sights. That doesn't matter too much as I will soon replace the factory sights with Trijicon sights as I do with all of my pistols. I had a couple of jams the first time I took it out and shot it. It may be a matter of my hand placement on the frame because the problem seemed to be with the slide stop which is similar to what one would find on a SIG. However, I obtained mine through the NRA-Certified Instructor program so It would have been a shame to pass up the opportunity to own one. My pistol has an accuracy that I would compare to the SIG Sauer line. It is more accurate than my Glocks and just a little less reliable. Next time I take it to the range, I'll pay attention to my grip and it should be plenty reliable. I would have no hesitation in taking the .45 acp version of this gun into combat. The only other thing I would mention is that the single-action trigger pull is a it stagey and it tends to stack more than a 1911 or Browning Highpower does. Even the SIG has a better single action trigger. Still, I couldn't get my hands on a Glock, SIG or 1911, I would feel well armed with the FNP and three magazines.

Posted by: sivispace | April 7, 2011 4:46 PM    Report this comment

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